In the April 18 edition of his daily program notes, called Nealz Nuze and posted on his website, nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz asked: "How far have we advanced in the wussification of America?" Boortz was responding to criticism of comments he made on the April 17 broadcast of his radio show regarding the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. During that broadcast, Boortz asked: "How the hell do 25 students allow themselves to be lined up against the wall in a classroom and picked off one by one? How does that happen, when they could have rushed the gunman, the shooter, and most of them would have survived?" In his April 18 program notes, Boortz added: "It seems that standing in terror waiting for your turn to be executed was the right thing to do, and any questions as to why 25 students didn't try to rush and overpower Cho Seung-Hui are just examples of right wing maniacal bias. Surrender -- comply -- adjust. The doctrine of the left. ... Even the suggestion that young adults should actually engage in an act of self defense brings howls of protest."
In the April 17 edition of his program notes, Boortz had similarly asked: "Why didn't some of these students fight back? How in the hell do you line students up against a wall (if that's the way it played out) and start picking them off one by one without the students turning on you? You have a choice. Try to rush the killer and get his gun, or stand there and wait to be shot. I would love to hear from some of you who have insight into situations such as this. Was there just not enough time to react? Were they paralyzed with fear? Were they waiting for someone else to take action? Sorry ... I just don't understand."
In questioning the actions of Virginia Tech students involved in the April 16 incident, Boortz joined the ranks of various commentators, including National Review Online contributor John Derbyshire, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Steyn, who also writes for the National Review, and right-wing pundit and Fox News analyst Michelle Malkin.
In an April 17 weblog post on National Review Online's The Corner, Derbyshire asked: "Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake -- one of them reportedly a .22." Time.com Washington editor Ana Marie Cox criticized Derbyshire in an April 17 post on Time magazine's political weblog, Swampland.
Steyn and Malkin have made similar statements, as the weblog Think Progress noted. In her April 18 syndicated column, Malkin wrote: "Instead of encouraging autonomy, our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance. And as the erosion of intellectual self-defense goes, so goes the erosion of physical self-defense." In his April 18 National Review column, Steyn suggested that Virginia Tech students were guilty of an "awful corrosive passivity" that is "an existential threat to a functioning society."
Thirty-two people were killed in the Virginia Tech shooting, described by the Associated Press as "the worst mass shooting in U.S. history."
From the April 17 broadcast of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:
BOORTZ: There are several questions about the Virginia Tech situation yesterday. One of them is the blame game. The other one is gun control. The other one is -- and this is one that I've been reading up on a little bit this morning and have gained some insight, and I'm hoping -- I would love to get some psychological or somebody in the business that can answer this question: How the hell do 25 students allow themselves to be lined up against the wall in a classroom and picked off one by one? How does that happen, when they could have rushed the gunman, the shooter, and most of them would have survived?